2019-2020 Chicago Early Learning Preschool Applications Now Open

Families with 3 or 4 year olds by Sept. 1 can apply now for sliding scale tuition full or half day preschool programs in Chicago. Choose up to 2 program sites and find out by June if you were placed in one or on a waitlist.

Three steps to apply: 1. Create on online account; 2. Fill in family info including address, household size, employment & income; 3. Fill out info on your child and choose your top 2 program sites.


Some sites are based in CPS schools but unless it is your assigned neighborhood school, there is no guarantee that you can continue at that school for kindergarten. It is a great way to get to know a school, however, to see if you would like to put it on your application or attend it if it is your neighborhood school.

10 thoughts on “2019-2020 Chicago Early Learning Preschool Applications Now Open”

  1. Is there a way to find out sooner than later if my child was accepted into the school I requested? I chose the option to have the information mailed but now wish I had put down to be notified via email instead. My child is also coming into CPS via Early Intervention.

  2. Is the application process the same for foster children? should we put that they have 0 income?

    1. This should be the same one but to confirm, we recommend you call the Chicago Early Learning Hotline at (312) 229-1690. From the website:

      Preschool applications are prioritized based on the child’s age and family need. Need indicators include: family income, students with disabilities, students in temporary living situations, foster children, children in need of language support, and additional demographic factors.

      Some seats may be reserved at specific sites for families who can verify that they meet the criteria for “high need”. Open seats may be flagged for families with certain eligibility factors, meaning some families may be admitted to a school while others are asked to remain on a waitlist. Waitlists and policies for placement into open seats will be continuously reviewed throughout the summer and families who are admitted in that review will be immediately notified via email.

  3. When is the next round of applications for magnet preschools for the 20-21 school year? Is that window the same for regular pre-k?

    1. The only magnet preschools that start at 3 or 4 years old and go through 8th grade are Suder, Drummond and Inter-American. Those schools tend not to go to a second round so the next time applications open for those it will be for the 2021-2022 school year and the applications would open this October 2020.

  4. My daughter is birth date is October 5th, 2016 and I am looking for full day pre-schools in Chicago. What is the procedure, when does the application procedure starts and how to proceed? Can you please provide me insights?

    1. In these uncertain times, it’s hard to say when this website will be updated, but most information can be found on https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/sites/chicagoearlylearning/home.html. Typically you can apply up to 2 program sites, and you are either offered or waitlisted after your application is reviewed and capacity and needs are taken in to consideration. Typically 4 year olds are prioritized over 3 year olds. There is more detailed info on the website.

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